Personal Authenticity – Keeping True To Me.

I was reading this article in the latest edition of Christian Women Online; Living An Authentic Life, and it really got me thinking. If there is one thing I strive to be, it is being faithful to God without losing my sense of personal authenticity. How can I be true to who I was meant to be and still remain essentially the person I am? When I had peer pressure to deal with, it seemed a bit more straightforward.

In August, I moved back home to join my parents in Ministry. I felt led to take a year off law practise to serve in ministry. I have spent most of the past few years living a life tailored to my desires and expectations on life; of course this was more or less coloured by what I had been taught to believe and also by my personal experiences and perception of life. Now I am back under my Parent’s roof and as each day passes, I discover I am not quite the same person I was when I first left home for the University. Which is good…in some ways.

My dad belongs to the school of thought, which believes a woman should not wear trousers. I knew that; I’ve always known that – he is no shrinking violet when it comes to making his opinions known. The thing is, I love trousers – always have, always will. I made him know years ago that I was going to wear trousers (I don’t believe in doing things behind his back); but I also respected the fact that he really and truly did not like it and therefore did not wear trousers at home. But that was OK because most of my visits were short ones. Now however, I am home for the next one year; how do I balance respecting my dad’s wishes and my own personal preferences? There is no choice really, I respect his wishes since I knew the deal when I decided to return. This is just a microcosm of the problem I face.

I want to be true to the person I believe God wants me to be; I want to be true to the values my parents took the time to lovingly instill in me, but most of all, I NEED to be true to the person I have discovered that I am. True to my thoughts; true to my emotions; true in my actions and my speech… I have to be Me. How do I go about being me in a society where there are a hundred and one influences trying to shape me into what they think I should be?

One thing I’ve discovered is that I need to be clear (for myself) on what I believe in. What it is I hold most dear and will not compromise on for anyone. Not wearing trousers – obviously. Then I also need to discover what my purpose in life is, and hold on to that. Melissa Michaels in the article wrote something which really spoke to me; she said:

 “the heart of authentic living for me … is creating a life of purpose and living out what I believe. If I don’t commit myself to actually using those pretty rooms to play games with my children or sit down around our table for family dinners, life will pass on by in the chaos of lesser things. And I will miss the opportunities I say I hold the most dear.”

That is it really… I have decided to not sweat the small stuff. However, I am going to hold on as tenaciously as a dog with a bone to the things I feel are important. I only ask for the wisdom to be able to distinguish between the two.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Personal Authenticity – Keeping True To Me.

  1. To be a self actualized and authentic person you totally have to be in alignment with your own values and not those taught to you by your parents. As an adult, you get to choose what fits for you. My blog on Love My Journey at http://www.sherrieh.wordpress.com might have some ways for you to sort through that for yourself.

    Like you I have very religious parents. I’m grateful for the values they instilled in me. However, I needed to find my own path within that value system. In other words I had to choose to be true to my heart and soul, while honoring them. When I lived under their roof, I abided by their rules. On my own, I got to choose what fit for me… including wearing “trousers” at my first wedding! I’ll keep you in my prayers!

  2. I find kindred spirit here. I just got on the journey of self discovery. My parents belong to the “old time religion” group. I grew up in a society where there were not many religious people. And as a young girl who lacked self confidence, i did most of the things i did to please people and be accepted. From my friends to my parents, and to anybody that cared. It’s not like i was a bad girl. Many people used to think i was born again until i tell them otherwise and they disagree wit me. Back then, i didn’t appreciate the way i was being brought up. I wanted to belong to the “society”. I didn’t have a stable personality. When i got into the university, i started wearing trousers. I got born again at that time too. I tried to explain to my parents that as an architecture student, trousers were most convenient for me. I always got back the riot act from them. Well, i was kinda stubborn and continued but didn’t wear it so much when i had to go to school from the house. I continued that way till i finished school. Luckily for me, my parents were not always around after i graduated, so i survived. When i went for my Youth service, i thot my chance had come to “freestyle”. I now met rules that forbade trouser-wearing at home. I almost quit that abode for my personal accomodation but forces greater than me kept me. I told as many people that cared to listen that i was a trouser freak, and i could’nt do without them. I wore trouser almost everyday of my service year to work, that the day i eventually wore a skirt, everybody had a remark. I’m done with service and i’m back under my parents roof. They don’t complain about it anymore. I don,t know why. But guess what? i don’t wear trousers anymore. Im sure my parents would be wondering what happened to me. I just felt i’d be more effective in my sunday school ministry if i didn’t. My students and children still think wearing trousers is a sin. Other teachers preach against it. The church is against it too. I want to reach out to the youths. If giving up trousers will help me gain their confidence, then why not. Afterall, Christ gave up so much 4 me on the cross of calvary. Most of them will end up wearing trousers and will condemn themselves. i did so 4 a while. Now, i know who i am meant to be. I make my choices based on my convictions. I may not be accepted by all but who cares? My younger sister will soon start asking for trousers in her wardrobe. I’ll get for her. I thank God everyday 4 the person i am becoming. I admire your decision to join your parents in ministry. Im sure the way they brought u up has shape u to a great extent. In being urself in line with God’s will, u’ll get to heights that only u can reach.

  3. @ Sherrieh – I am learning to put my life into perspective and in the process, my personal value system is crystalizing. I have learned to like the person that I am gradually becomming and even though I’m not sure I’m the person my parents thought I’d be, I have no doubt that they are extremely proud of this person.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Loved reading it and I checked out your site too. Lovely

    @ Ukiemoye…Wow! I should have put up your comment as a post on this blog; it is so something I might have written.
    I understand your need to put aside what might be a stumbling block to the faith of ‘your’ children. You sound like the kind of person I would love to know.
    I’ll pray for you as you seek to serve Him and for the children you teach too. God bless you.

  4. Sharon, once upon a time, I had a former gifted student contact me. He was in his masters in biochemistry program and almost finished. He asked me what I would think of his becoming a priest. I told him that God never makes mistakes and that one day he would use his masters degree in God’s service.

    He was fearful of what his family would think. I told him that if he followed his heart, his parents would totally support him. Today he is a RC priest with a PHD in theology. He works with inner city teens. Frankly his gifts and his talents are being put to good use.

    God doesn’t make any junk. However we all have our own steps in learning our process so that we can be true to ourselves and our hearts and souls along our journey. You can’t take the same steps as your parents because you are not them. God has need of all of our talents for we all reach out in our own way to bring the light to people who need it and seek it. Blessings to you on your journey!

  5. I so get this. That journey is a pretty intense one to undertake but it is also the most rewarding experience I have ever had. I know me now in a way I never did before. I know what I value, what I need, what I want, what I enjoy. And I’m not at all who I thought I was. In alot of ways, that self-discovery has been a hurdle in my relationships with my parents. But I wouldn’t trade it.

    And even though they may not exactly agree with all that I do or think, one thing is sure. They cannot doubt that I am who they raised me to be. My faith is more than just a banner. It is who I am. I live it out. The bible lives for me and God is personal to me. My desire is His Will above all else and my passion is His people. I look for the truth. I seek the right understanding and I hold on tightly to what I believe. And sometimes it leaves me feeling alone. But it also leaves me secure in who I am.

    Which is exactly who they raised me to be.

    I’ll be praying for you along this journey. It should prove to be an experience like nothing else. :0)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s